Workshop plans for a new-look Grafton
A CROSS section of the Grafton business community has turned out for an initial workshop to plan the Jacaranda City's future after the opening of the Pacific Highway bypass and the second Grafton bridge.
Grafton Chamber of Commerce Justin James said while the numbers at the workshop late last month were "less than inspirational" the quality of ideas arising more than made up for it.
"We were able to pinpoint a number of important issues and outline a few projects that will help Grafton post-bypass," Mr James said
"They will soon be prioritised and allocated to members of the public in partnership with both (Clarence Valley) council's Economic Development Team and the chamber to accomplish over the coming months."
The workshop chairwoman and council Economic Development Team co-ordinator, Elizabeth Fairweather, has called on the community for ideas as well as those coming from the workshop.
"My team is more than happy to assist in any way it can, and speaking for GCC we are more than happy to also lease and offer assistance where we can," Ms Fairweather said.
The workshop was inspired by a presentation from noted transport expert Dr Bruno Parolin, who addressed a meeting of stakeholders in Grafton in July.
A key outcome has been the Vibrant Place initiative. The plan aims to remove local government red tape and fees, allowing businesses to use space on footpaths outside their shops for trading.
The council is trialling the plan in the Grafton and Ulmarra CBDs.
Speakers also addressed the effect on the Grafton CBD of the bypass and the opening of the second Grafton bridge toward the end of 2019
Grafton Shoppingworld manager Brendan Wilson did not predict a big impact for Shoppingworld, but said planning would be vital for traffic flows and parking in the CBD streets.
But South Grafton businesses would be right in the firing line, said Transit Centre owner David Hill.
Mr Hill's experience showed truckies made many big purchases in the Grafton CBD after pulling over in South Grafton.
He said this might not continue unless the Grafton exit onto the highway at Glenugie was a B-double access point.